DECATHLON SENDS RYE TO WASHINGTON

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BY CARYS MILLS

It took seven trucks to move North House from Toronto to Washington last month.

North House was built by Team North, a group of Ryerson, Simon Fraser University and University of Waterloo students, who worked on a solarpowered house for a decathlon taking place in Washington.

Students and faculty from the three universities have been working on the project for the last two years.

The solar decathlon, run by the U.S. Department of Energy, selected 20 teams from universities and colleges worldwide. Their designs for solar powered, sustainable houses are currently being judged in 10 separate contests, each of which earn points towards an overall total that will determine the winner.

As of noon on Tuesday, Team North was in fourth place.

“It’s still early in the game,” said Aya Dembo, a Ryerson building science graduate student and Team North member.

Winners will be announced for the lighting and engineering competitions before the top three teams are revealed on Oct. 16.

According to Alan Fung, faculty lead and mechanical engineer, the house’s design focused on working in all of Canada’s climates.

“If we could do it in Canada we could most likely do it anywhere in the world,” said Fung.

Human error cost the team points on the third day of the competition. Safety precautions were left in place, stopping enough water being heated for the house.

“Some of the appliances are smarter than us,” said Dembo. “There’s no room for error.”

Fung said that Team North has received over $800,000 sponsoring the project.

Disassembling, moving and reassembling the house add to the cost. After Washington, Fung hopes Team North will secure funding to send the house to Vancouver to be displayed at the 2010 Winter Olympics. Fung said the two-year process has already been draining.

“I think doing it once is enough for your life.”


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